christmas cocktail in paris

by Sharon Santoni

A little piece of fiction … just a bit of fun, as always I beg your indulgence ….

….ooO0Ooo….

As a young doctor, freshly arrived in Paris just a month before, Mathilde hadn’t really had the time to make a million friends and organise a social life.  But tomorrow was Christmas Eve, and she was determined to make it fun.  Her boss told her she would only have Christmas Eve off, and was to be back on duty the next morning  … her first christmas away from home, she had to do something special.

Her tiny flat was …well charming.  Totally Parisian.  A former maid’s quarters, tucked under a zinc roof , no lift, incredibly noisy when it rained, but she had a view over the Eiffel tower, and she enjoyed that privilege each day.

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She had moved into her little piece of Parisian heaven just a month before, bringing with her a few pieces of furniture, some mismatched china, a few wine glasses, her grandmother’s silver knives and a Siamese cat called Greige .

Her budget was tight, but she was pleased to have made the flat feel cosy and stylish, it felt feminine, it felt warm, it felt like home.

And now Christmas was nearly here, there was no time to get back to her parents in the south of France;  for the first time in her life she had to organise her own celebration.  She invited two other young doctors, Julien and Clarisse from the hospital, and the lady downstairs, called Madame de la Garenne who always liked to chat.  She was convinced that any young girl in Paris had to be in love and seemed determined to find someone for Mathilde.

Among Mathilde’s sparse furniture were  five chairs, and she  thought it would have been nice to find someone else to invite, but time just flew past.

Her busy work routine allowed little spare time for planning and baking.    The day before the party she bought smoked salmon, and oysters, foie gras and a delicious Sauternes wine.     Julien said he’d bring champagne, and Clarisse offered to bring dessert.  During the afternoon Madame de la Garenne knocked at the door with a big box of macarons “this is for our little party this evening ma Chérie, oh yes and by the way, do you know that there is a new person in the flat just below you.  I believe they are on their own too, so I slipped a note beneath their door and said they should come to your party!  Did I do the right thing?!”

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Mathilde was surprised, but by now it was already 5 in the afternoon and she had no time to argue, “oh well, then I can use all my chairs!” , she bid Madame goodbye and got back to her preparations.  She only had an hour or so to decorate the flat and make it feel welcome.

She started with the tree, a tiny perfectly shaped little tree, that brought the perfume of a forest into her flat, and stood neatly on a table beside the window.    She had forgotten to buy any christmas lights, and she didn’t have any decorations, “oh dear, it looks rather plain” … her eyes landed on the box of brightly coloured macarons ” voila!”   a needle and thread was all she needed to quickly transform the little patisseries into beautiful and edible tree decorations!

She laid the table with care, using a beautiful linen cloth that also came from her grandma, the china and crystal sparkled in the candlelight.

At half past seven Julien and Clarisse arrived, laden with red roses, bottles of champagne, and a beautiful traditional chocolate log for dessert.  They oohed and aahed at the table, and took a peek inside the fridge.

Julien disappeared for a few minutes and returned with a box of petits fours, purchased at the boulangerie on the corner of the street.   “Oh what a shame we don’t have any cocktails to start the evening off with, said Mathilde.

Just then the bell rang and Mathilde swung open the door to reveal a triumphant and beautifully dressed Madame de la Garenne, on the arm of a tall young man, who in turn carried a large glass ice bucket, with a silver ladle protruding at an angle from the top.  Madame had a twinkle in her eye …. ‘Mathilde Chérie, let me introduce you to Frederic, “

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” Bonjour”, he smiled, ” thank you for letting me come to your party.  It was very short notice, and I didn’t have time to buy you a gift, but I made you my favourite cocktail with champagne, cognac, amaretto and a little orange – I hope that’s alright”

Mathilde stood speechless, not knowing which to admire the most: Frederic , the cocktail or madame’s glinting eye.

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Their evening went on long into the night, as they enjoyed the food, the champagne and of course the cocktail.   With each person taking their turn to raise their glass and propose a toast, until finally it was Mathildes turn, and she lifted her glass and said “Merci, you have given me the best Christmas Eve ever, and a new definition of christmas cocktails.  Not only those we drink, but those we create.   I now know they should always  be made together and shared “

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click here for the  christmas cocktail story :

part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4

38 comments

priyanka December 3, 2013 - 12:48 pm

This is one of the most beautiful Christmas based posts i’ve read so far . Completely lovely . Shows how beautiful people can be 🙂

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Deborah Carter December 3, 2013 - 12:51 pm

So…that’s the start of the story. What happens next? You can’t leave us hanging! Next chapter soon in the life of Mathilde! We need to hear about Madame’s matchmaking efforts!
Deborah from Melbourne.

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Sharon SANTONI December 3, 2013 - 5:29 pm

Thank you Deborah, but I’m really not sure what happens next … would you like to write a sequel for us?

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claudia December 3, 2013 - 1:13 pm

Your story is very nice and interesting, as usual ! Thank you

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Moji December 3, 2013 - 1:13 pm

Such a charming story to start the Holiday season with! please continue this little Love Story!

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La Pouyette - Karin December 3, 2013 - 1:24 pm

Charming and enchanting!
CHEERS!
k

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Maria Galetti -Basch December 3, 2013 - 3:07 pm

Ah! What a lovely heart warming story- Merci!

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Jeanne McKay Hartmann December 3, 2013 - 3:11 pm

What a lovely party! Sharon, I love your “little pieces of fiction” and savored every word. You are so good at evoking details (a Siamese cat named Greige – love it!). I feel like I spent the evening a sweet Parisian cocktail bash, full of all the warmth, togetherness and love of the season. Merci to you and cheers! Some day I hope you will consider a book (in you spare time). XO

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Cindy December 3, 2013 - 3:32 pm

Great Christmas post. Some times the sweetest memories come from the most humble experiences.

My families most memorable Thanksgiving is when our parents had to be somewhere else leaving the four of us figure out how we were going to celebrate. Having no money, we spent the day packed into my brother’s orange v w bug looking for cans and bottles on the side of the road. We managed to collect enough to buy what we needed for tacos. This was years and years ago, but is still our most memorable Thanksgiving.

A friend has just published her first novel and is offering a give-away. Please help me help her by going to http://www.illuminationbycindy.blogspot.com

Thank you.

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Iracema December 3, 2013 - 4:44 pm

Amo como você escreve! Sinto-me inteiramente transportada para esse cenário que mais parece um sonho feito de pequenos detalhes e muita sensibilidade. Isso vale tanto para o real quanto para o de ficção. Vejo seu blog todos os dias.

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ann hodgkins December 3, 2013 - 4:55 pm

A wonderful post to start a beautiful time of the year.
The Christmas tree lighting at Rockerfeller Center in NYC is tomorrow evening.
When I worked in midtown Manhattan it always made me happy that people seemed to change for the season. Kinder,friendlier, happier.

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Emm December 3, 2013 - 5:13 pm

The Adventures of Madame et Mathilde — more, please. I can just see that tiny, charming place, am imagining myself there.

Liking Ann Hodgkins’ comment about the tree at Rockefeller Center. I used to have an office that overlooked the skating rink, so could look out and down at the skaters and the glittering tree. Workers build it, wiring on extra branches to fill in spots, for the entire week after Thanksgiving until the official lighting ceremony.

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ann hodgkins December 4, 2013 - 5:59 pm

Emm,

Yes, you had a wonderful view of the tree and skaters.
I did not elaborate in my prior post but have fond memories of a wonderful cocktail party held the night of the tree lighting. It was in one the buildings overlooking the the rink and tree on a floor high enough to see the event but not too high.
It has to have been over twenty five years ago but still is remebered for the spectacular view, wonderful food and drinks!
Everyone attending was in the holiday spirit.

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Catherine December 3, 2013 - 5:18 pm

Oh, I so loved this post, Sharon…nothing lovelier than a Christmas tale 🙂
Happy Holidays xx

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Mary Wikert December 3, 2013 - 5:50 pm

Sounds like the perfect party…a bit off the cuff and very serendipity! I love the twist at the end with the handsome new guest arriving…the best way to meet your soul mate is when you least expect it. I ought to know…that is how I met my husband! And oh the view of the Eiffel and such a charming apartment! Thanks for sharing your short story that cries out for a sequel*!*

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simone December 3, 2013 - 5:56 pm

Absolutely charming, this was really wonderful and so original….well done you!

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Heather in Arles December 3, 2013 - 6:32 pm

Sharon, I am a mess of hormones these days so I hope that you will pardon me if I say that this brought tears to my eyes! It did! Not only the true charm of the story – and you know how much I love it when you write fiction – but also just in the effort that you took the time to write it for this months BIO post amidst much on your plate. All of it together is the essence of the season.

And I agree with the others, I am afraid you have created something that we would love you to finish…perhaps as a holiday gift to us?
Plein bisous,
H

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Sharon SANTONI December 3, 2013 - 7:25 pm

I think you are too kind Heather … thank you. And supposing I asked my readers to finish the tale ? …

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Lisa December 3, 2013 - 7:16 pm

Aw. I do so love a good romance! And the sound of the rain on the tin roof, ah, such a touch.

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Leslie in Portland, Oregon December 3, 2013 - 7:23 pm

A delightful little word painting of a lovely Christmas Eve…thank you!

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vicki archer December 3, 2013 - 8:01 pm

So sweet… Christmas, romance and a good cocktail… it doesn’t get better than that… 😉 xv

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Margaret December 3, 2013 - 8:57 pm

Beautiful story, Christmas is such a special time to spend time with and make new friends

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Karen Sternberg December 3, 2013 - 9:08 pm

Oh my goodness, I just loved that story. It was wonderful. Thank you so much. You just made my day. I loved it!!!
xxoo

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Jacqueline December 3, 2013 - 10:22 pm

Dear Sharon,

What a wonderful take on our BIO subject for this month. I really enjoyed reading your story and would love more chapters. Loved it !! XXXX

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Roxane December 3, 2013 - 10:30 pm

So sweet! What a lovely story and I could just imagine being at the party! Thank you so much. I look forward to the next installment, perhaps a special evening with Frederic on New Year’s Eve? I must ask, are those ingredients from a real cocktail and is the “a little orange” Grand Marnier? If so, I’m looking for a special cocktail to serve at my winter party and would be very interested in the recipe.

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Virginia Blue December 3, 2013 - 11:16 pm

Beautiful story, just beautiful!

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Linda Quast December 4, 2013 - 1:06 am

Sharon,

I loved reading your Christmas story, and like others, would love to hear the rest of the story. I can just picture Mathilde’s little Parisian flat. How I would love to visit Paris at this time of the year. You painted a beautiful picture.

Linda

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Liz December 4, 2013 - 3:47 am

Chapter 2 please!….That was a darling story… Would love for it to continue…

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Marsha @ Splenderosa December 4, 2013 - 5:24 am

You have the most evocative way of setting up a story. Filling in all the lovely details, like crystal, lovely linens, a Christmas tree with Macarons as ornaments. Too too perfect. And, I love how different people just kept coming along with various things and suddenly the little party was in full swing and needed not one thing more. I prefer it to remain unfinished as we, each of us, can finish it the way we want it to go. You are the Cake Topper this month, Sharon. Simply the most splendid, insightful tale of one fine evening in a young woman’s life. Thank you for being gracious to join us once again. We need you in particular, you add a special twist which is vital. Onward & Upward !!

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Lynnette Punjak-Williams December 4, 2013 - 7:14 am

Thank you for painting such a beautiful picture in words. It brings back our magical trip to Paris , last year. My first and hopefully not my last. I just love to lose myself in my memories and your story certainly helped.
Merry Christmas

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Karena December 4, 2013 - 1:23 pm

A magical story Sharon. You have a wonderful way with words that brings this to life!

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena

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ann hodgkins December 4, 2013 - 6:06 pm

Yes, please a sequel to this wonderful story!!
Paris is wonderful in the fall but would be spectacular at Christmas.
Perhaps a December trip one year would be in order to take it all in.
Of course a visit to Normandy could also be included.

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Anne Pontabry December 5, 2013 - 8:29 pm

Sharon,
I absolutely love the way you paint a picture of the quaint and beautiful little apartment in Paris. I feel like I am actually there on Christmas Eve with Mathilde when I read this story!

I also want to try one of those magical sounding cocktails! Is there a name for your champagne, cognac creation?!?

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Colleen Taylor December 8, 2013 - 3:39 am

I love this story Sharon & your writing is always to be enjoyed!

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Julia December 9, 2013 - 1:38 am

O Please ! do let us know more about Mathilde…. and the cocktail too !!!

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Debi December 10, 2013 - 4:55 pm

I was wrapped in cashmere and swept away by this story…I close my eyes and can see every detail…merci

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Lin Powell December 19, 2013 - 11:45 pm

Have now read part I and part II and can’t wait for the next installment. Enjoying it so much. Thank you for this magical Christmas story.

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Jeanne....Collage of Life January 7, 2014 - 10:40 am

I think I just fell for Frederic..hook, line and sinker. I wish I could say that in French!

I have a pot of French Kusmi Tea by my side.. “Anastasia”…Earl Grey, lemon and orange blossom…. perfect for a Christmas soiree in Paris.

Now onto Part 2…loving this.. xx

Madame de la Henriques (I like it!) 😉

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